One of the worst kept secrets in Australian cricket has been confirmed, with Matthew Wade's return to Tasmania announced by the Tigers this morning.
After 10 years with Victoria, Wade has decided to move back to his home state for family reasons. He has been training with the Tigers during their pre-season but his official return to the Apple Isle was finally confirmed today when Tasmania revealed their list of contracted players for the 2017-18 season.
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Wade, born and raised in Tasmania, moved to Victoria a decade ago to further his opportunities given highly-rated keeper-batsman Tim Paine was ahead of him at the Tigers.
He forged a strong career with the Bushrangers, captaining the side and helping them to multiple domestic titles as well as forcing his way into Australia's Test, ODI and T20 teams.
The 29-year-old is one of two Cricket Australia contracted players on Tasmania's list for this season, along with paceman Jackson Bird.
Despite Wade's return, Paine has also earned a new deal with the Tigers. The former Test and ODI keeper has been out-of-favour in recent years and conceded to cricket.com.au earlier this year that he was unsure whether or not he would be offered a new deal.
With Paine also in the squad, along with some-times glovemen Ben Dunk and Jake Doran, coach Adam Griffith said he was yet to settle on his first-choice wicketkeeper.
"We'll look at that," he said when asked who had the front running. "I still think Tim's one of the best glovemen in the country."
Griffith, who in April replaced the sacked Dan Marsh in the wake of a horror one-win Sheffield Shield campaign, said Wade's decision was based around family.
"He's a Tasmanian boy at heart so I think he's been looking forward to the opportunity to come home again and set his life up down here," Griffith said.
Wade is one of five new faces on the list of Tigers with full contracts this year, along with upgraded rookie Gabe Bell, fast bowlers Nick Buchanan and Tom Rogers as well as batsman Charlie Wakim.
Those to lose their contracts are retired former Test and ODI spinner Xavier Doherty, allrounder Hamish Kingston, batsman Dom Michael and fast bowler Cameron Wheatley.
George Bailey will again captain the side in what will be Griffith's first season in charge.
"After a lengthy process we are excited by the young talent we have been able to acquire from interstate, along with the continual development of local players," Griffith said in a statement.
"We have been able to increase our depth in the fast bowling ranks, which is vital for the long season ahead."
- with AAP
TASMANIA CONTRACTED PLAYERS 2017-18
CA Contracted Players: Jackson Bird, Matthew Wade
Full Contracts: George Bailey (c), Gabe Bell, Cameron Boyce, Nick Buchanan, Alex Doolan, Jake Doran, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Andrew Fekete, Jake Hancock, Ben McDermott, Simon Milenko, Tim Paine, Andrew Perrin, Sam Rainbird, Tom Rogers, Jordan Silk, Cameron Stevenson, Charlie Wakim, Beau Webster.
Rookie Contracts: Caleb Jewel, Riley Meredith, Corey Murfet, Mac Wright, Aaron Summers, Liam Devlin
IN: Gabe Bell (upgraded), Nick Buchanan, Tom Rogers, Matthew Wade, Charlie Wakim
OUT: Xavier Doherty, Hamish Kingston, Dom Michael, Cameron Wheatley